She promotes inner beautiy through meditation
Maha Upasika Dr. Bongkot Sitthipol of Thailand
Once Ven. Maha Moggallana, the famous mathematician of the time of
the Buddha went to the Buddha and asked him, "Venerable Sir, in the case
of various professions, there is always a gradual training, a graded
doing, and a gradual practice. Is it possible, Lord Gotama, to lay down
a similar gradual training and a progressive development in respect of
Said the Buddha, it is possible, learned devotee, to lay down a
gradual training, in respect of spiritual life.
Just as a skilled trainer of horses, trains the horse by getting it
used to various modes of training, even so the Ththagata, the
Truth-Bearer (Referring to Himself, in the third person), having
accepted a man to be spiritually tamed, disciplines him through a
gradual method of training. The gradual training begins first with moral
conduct, followed by sense control, moderation in eating, heedfulness
and overcoming impediments.
On another occasion, Brahaman Vassakara went to the Buddha, who was
in residence in the Kutaghara (Hall with the Pointed Roof) in Mahavana
(Great Wood) in Vaishali, asked the Buddha, what kind of meditation he
The Buddha in reply said, "Here is someone, secluded from sensual
desires, secluded from unwholesome states, enters upon and abodes in the
first meditation, which is accompanied by thinking and exploring, with
happiness and pleasure born of seclusion.
And he enters upon and abides in the second, the third, and the
fourth meditations. The Blessed One commends such meditation" (Majjima
It is indeed a pleasant experience, this writer's meeting with Maha
Upasika Dr. Bongkot Sitthipol of Thailand.
To rest, reflect and meditate...
She has built one of the tallest images of the Buddha in the open air
of a well-laid grove in Savatthi, little away from the Jetavanaramaya in
the sitting posture, tinted with gold.
Maha Upasika was born in early May, 1954, at Aranypratet, Prachinburi
Province, Thailand, who later in life was the owner/director and teacher
of Bogkot Beauty School, certified by the Ministry of Education,
Thailand for its academic excellence.
However, there was a turning point in her life. She realised that
external beauty and the experience in teaching beauty culture would not
bring forth happiness nor solve problems and difficulties of all kinds
that besiege the mind, body and heart.
She realised that one has to seek within one's heart and mind and
make it beautiful in order to gain happiness and peace, because the
source of beauty is found within. Further she was convinced, humankind
from all over the world, irrespective of their class, colours, creed or
religion, all related like brothers and sisters in one big family like a
tree with roots, trunk, branches, leaves and flowers and fruits.
She then gave up and left her school and family life and became a
Upasika to be of selfless service to the whole world.
Maha Upasika Dr. Bongkot reflected that throughout the world there
are innumerable educational institutions, but they have no emphasis to
develop moral values but only material gain.
She then established learning institutions to develop the minds of
people to generate purity, peace, happiness and wisdom to approach and
solve problems in a calm atmosphere.
Thus her training sessions are in green groves. These centres
functioning in buildings are open daily to receive the public of the
world at their convenience irrespective of nationality, language, creed,
religion, class and occupation. Food, lodging and training are all free
of charge, all expenses met by her.
People who come for training are taught to learn from nature and the
things around them, for example sleeping on the floor with mat or
camping out in the forest, eating one full meal a day and bathing in
In the Non-Formal Education centre she established at Daen
Mahamongkol in Thailand, ample opportunities are provided in the form of
solitary huts at strategic open spaces and forest areas for participants
to rest, reflect and meditate.
Thus nature conduces to internal peace sans the state-of-the-art
amenities and luxuries. Even preparation of food is team work,
constantly thinking while cooking whoever eats the food, may they have
good health, be free from illness and disease, be free from anger,
hatred, greed and jealousy.
The trainees while sweeping the ground, think, whoever sees the lush
greefields, free from dead leaves and twigs, may they be free from
stress, be composed and calm and may all their problems fade away. Thus
repulsiveness, irritation are redeemed from the mind, in other words
attachment (lobha), enmity (dosa) and ignorance (moha) are dispelled
from the mind.
Maha Upasika Dr. Bongkot Sitthipol has established Daen Mahamongkol
Meditation Centres in Saiyok District, Kanchanaburi Province Thailand,
Mahamongkolchai Dhamma Devoted Land for World Peacefulness Foundation,
Shravasti, Uttar Pradesh, India.
The Shravasti institution has nine large halls for approximately for
training 5,000 people, eleven middle sized meditation halls, for around
2,000 devotees, 1,000 solitary meditation huts three large eating halls
providing vegetarian food and 500 bathrooms.
Maha Upasika Dr. Bongkot Sitthipol has established Daen Mahmongkol
International Meditation Centres at various places in Thailand and
India, namely Daen Mahamongkol Saiyok District, Kanchanaburi Province,
Thailand, and Mahamongkolchai Dhamma Devoted Land for World Peacefulness
Foundation at Shravasthri, Uttar Pradesh, India (This writer visits this
The facilities now aggregate to nine large centres for approximately
5,000 people for training and developing the mind, eleven middle sized
meditation halls for around 2,000 participants. nearly 1,000 solitary
meditation huts, three large eating halls providing only vegetarian food
and about 500 bathrooms.
All these structures are located in lush green natural forests, with
trees of various species. All these facilities are provided free of
charge and expenses met by the Maha Upasika.
These training sessions are attended by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslim men
and women and also Christians in short by the adherents of all
religions, as they all need inner peace in the ups and downs of everyday
life to whichever faith they belong to.
These people speaking different languages come together for a common
objective, that is to walk in unity and harmony under the Maha Upasika's
The Walks of Peace and Harmony she organises in India, punctuating
the theme, "We may be different, but we can come and work together for
peace in the world", are well attended walks through the streets and
villages of India.
The training programmes are pluralistic and even Roman Catholic nuns
and Hindu priests participate in them. She even conducts sessions for
Indian policemen. The dialogue sessions have benefitted people in all
stages of life helping them to maximise their potential.
Children and youth such as children lacking education, drug addicts,
misguided and delinquent children and promiscuous teenagers too have
been targeted in her programmes.
Her mission is globally accepted and she has been awarded the highest
honours by USA, Canada, Italy, Spain, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ivory Coast,
India and Sri Lanka too. Her munificence reaches human-friendly
organisation the world over.
Gross National Happiness, development indicator in Bhutan
Thailand's army-installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said
Monday that the kingdom should measure the happiness of its people as
well as the growth of its economy.
Surayud spoke as he met caretaker Prime Minister Lyonpo Kinzang Dorji
of Bhutan, a remote Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas that has embraced
the concept of "gross national happiness" as a guiding tenet of its
"We are gathered in concern for the well-being of our people
spiritually, mentally and physically," Surayud told reporters. "We have
learned that growth cannot be measured in numbers and GDP alone. It must
also be measured through the well-being of the people," he added.
Bhutan is ranked near the bottom of the world's development scale so
the landlocked country invented a unique way to measure progress by
citing gross national happiness (GNH) ahead of gross domestic product
The policy was decreed by former king Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the
1990s in response to low economic growth in an attempt to reflect
quality of life over money.
It has since become the isolated kingdom's guiding policy tool and a
driving force behind Bhutan's transition to democracy, with elections
set for December, Dorji said.
"The government of Bhutan is developing indicators for GNH and
incorporating them into concrete policies," he said, adding: "Numerical
values do not do justice to the emotions of the human experience."
The philosophy is listed in Bhutan's draft constitution, slated to be
ratified after a national referendum planned as part of the country's
historic shift toward parliamentary democracy. A recent study by the
Centre for Bhutan Studies, a research institute, found 68 percent of the
country's nearly 700,000 people were happy.
A World Bank official last week told Bhutan's state newspaper that
other countries should also promote gross national happiness as a gauge
of national well-being.